Building Your PLN (Personal Learning Network) – Part 1

After graduating a little over a year ago, it took me about eight months to find a full-time, professional library job.  During those many months, I spent almost all of my time focusing on finding a job.   I directed most of my attention towards finding a library-related position, but I got to the point where any job would do.

I have since found a position with a corporate library, and have been here for just over seven months.  About four months ago, I realized two things: 1. having a job in my field-of-choice is not enough to keep up with current trends in my profession; and 2. that I need to become more active in my field.

The biggest problem was I didn’t know how to do either of these things without taking continuing education classes (which I couldn’t afford) or attending local meetings of interest with my professional associations (of which there were none).  Some may have given up at that point and resigned themselves to just learning whatever they can at work and hoping that was enough, but I wanted to be more proactive.

So what did I do?  I did what any librarian/information manager would do… research!  I started by thinking of topics related to my field that interested me (e.g. information literacy, social learning, digital libraries, etc.), and then plugged them into Google to see what I could find.  What a wealth of information there was!  A plethora of blogs, news stories, screencasts, podcasts… I found information relevant to my topics of interest in just about every form of media.

I aggregated all of the feeds from the wonderful blogs and news sites I found into Google Reader (any RSS Reader will do) and check it a few times a day.  One wonderful resource I found was a page on the Hack Library School blog, a section called LIS Blogs to Follow.  The writers compiled bundles of feeds according to genre of librarianship – general, public, academic, and “quirky,” as well as a bundle of blogs by the 2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers.

Feel free to check out the feeds I read on my LIS Feed Aggregation Page.  I am also interested in the concept of social learning, and am more than happy to share my Social Learning Feed Aggregation Page as well.

In my next posts I will share mobile apps/websites I find useful in discovering new sources, and how I’ve used social media in my PLN.


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